Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, which is the right console for you?

12 November 2020 - 14:57 By Darryn Bonthuys
As for the Xbox Series S? It’s around half that size and also able to fit into small spaces with ease.
As for the Xbox Series S? It’s around half that size and also able to fit into small spaces with ease.
Image: Supplied

It’s finally here! The Xbox Series X and the Series console finally launches this week in a worldwide blitz, heralding a start to a new generation of gaming. Microsoft’s not pulling any punches this time, having clearly learnt a few lessons from the disastrous launch of the Xbox One which made that console a bit of a joke for several years.

If you’re planning to adopt a Team Green device, you may be wondering: Which console is right for me? Long story short: If you crave power, go Xbox Series X. If you’re not too fussed and more of a chilled gamer, go Xbox Series S. And now that I’ve ruined the 904 words written below, let’s dig into deeper detail on what makes each console different and how they stack up in size, power, and taste tests.

Size

Make no mistake, the Xbox Series X is an absolute unit of a device, but one that is surprisingly well-designed and deceptively compact. I don’t have the space for it to be placed vertically inside of my TV Unit, but I’m more than happy to rest on its side on its rubber nipples. It’s taller either way but less wide in both orientations as well. If you could store an Xbox One in your cupboard, I’d wager that you could do the same with the Xbox Series X.

As for the Xbox Series S? It’s around half that size and also able to fit into small spaces with ease. Both consoles need only an HDMI and power cable inserted, and you’re good to go. Personally I prefer the look of the Xbox Series S, whose slim and white finish isn’t done justice by photos.

Price

R11,999 for the Xbox Series X, R6999 for the Xbox Series S. In Facebook terms, that’s roughly 23 Samsung Galaxy S6 swap offers per hour.

 

Can I get a decent workout with these consoles?

Absolutely. The Xbox Series X is great for power-lifting reps. I’d recommend three sets of eight lifts twice a day, but for serious gains I’d switch to quicker and more intense squat lifts with the Xbox Series S to see some decent definition. Four sets of ten in the morning and the evening will see your glutes popping quite nicely after a month.

Power

Microsoft’s coming into this generation with all guns blazing, but they’re also aware of a market which doesn’t care about a 4K presentation. At this point, you’re likely well aware of what the Xbox Series X is capable of. On paper it’s the most powerful console of this generation, and in practice it’s capable of amazing leaps in gaming picture fidelity. Basically 4K 60 FPS games are about to be a lot more common-place, while that frame-rate will be sacrificed for a more cinematic experience once advanced technology such as ray tracing comes into play.

What of the Xbox Series S though? While 1440p gaming and 4K upscaling is possible, this little console is more at home with 1080p resolution monitors and TVs. In fact many a game will be scaled to that resolution and even below it with dynamic engineering, but resolution is not the be-all end-all of graphical quality. Thanks to its newer hardware though, you’ll still be capable of playing games at 60 FPS, possibly even 120 FPS in select cases.

 
 

Is there a compromise to be made visually? Absolutely, but it’s not as big as you’d imagine it to be. The end result may be a softer output from the Xbox Series S, but the experience is still exactly the same. The Xbox Series S will also support Spatial Sound via Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision support for gaming will arrive in 2021, and the Xbox Velocity architecture will drastically cut down on load times on the smaller console in line with its bigger brother.

Put it this way: Do have a fancy-ass TV or monitor? Get an Xbox Series X. Are you content with budget hardware that delivers the feel of a next-gen experience? Get an Xbox Series S. It may not have a disc drive, but combined with Xbox Game Pass it’s fantastic value for money. Especially if you have young ones in the house who are too dense to know any better.

 

Can I build a fortress out of the Xbox consoles?

It would be a bit expensive but it is doable! For a decent-sized lounge fort, you’d need roughly 120 Xbox Series X consoles and double that if you’re using Xbox Series S devices. That should allow you to create a comfy fortress with parapets, but it’d likely attract a swarm of cats to your position as well.

SSD storage

Here’s the pure maths for you on Xbox Series storage space. On Xbox Series X you’ll have 802 GB of SSD storage to make use of from the advertised 1 TB drive. On Xbox Series S, the listed 500 GB model will give you 361 GB of space to store games on. There is concern that the space available isn’t big enough, especially for larger budget games which can easily gobble up between 50-100 GB easily once new high-resolution texture packs have been downloaded.

There are solutions though! The easiest way to have more storage space is to simply buy another Xbox Series X or Series S. Easy, case closed. Alternatively and more realistically for those of us who don’t live in a fantasy realm, you can use a USB 3.1 external hard drive or chunky flash drive to store games on. As detailed here, all you have to do is plug it in, copy games over and you’re sorted. It’s easier than jokes about your mum.

 

Controller

If you’re hard-pressed for cash though, your old Xbox One controller will work just fine.
If you’re hard-pressed for cash though, your old Xbox One controller will work just fine.
Image: Supplied

Exactly the same. Both controllers are remarkably similar to the Xbox One design, and as written about here, the improvements are both subtle and welcome. If you’re hard-pressed for cash though, your old Xbox One controller will work just fine. If you want, you can even shell out an absurd amount of cash for the Xbox Elite wireless controller, which throws paddles, more expensive materials and the same superb D-pad at you.

 

Taste

A quick lick reveals hints of Seattle-processed plastic and an instant 90% loss in resale value due to my disgusting mouth germs.


This article was brought to you by Critical Hit


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